SPRUCE GROVE, AB (November 13, 2021) – The Brooks Bandits erased their largest deficit of the season to force overtime, but came up short in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Spruce Grove Saints on Saturday at the Grant Fuhr Arena.
The loss snaps the team’s 19 game winning streak, however the team is without a regulation loss in 20 games. Goaltender Ethan Barwick made 17 saves, while Saints netminder Maxwell Beckford stopped 39 pucks. Brooks’ record drops to (20-1-1), while the Saints improved to (19-3-2).
Photo credit: Spruce Grove Saints
Spruce Grove opened the scoring 10:18 into the game on the powerplay on a one-timer from forward Caiden Gault. But the Bandits would get their own powerplay goal from defenceman Zach Bookman (Merrimack) at 13:28, who snapped in a Devin Phillips (Holy Cross) pass to tie the game 1-1. With 2:38 left in the period, Bandits and AJHL leading scorer Ryan McAllister (Western Michigan) was given a game misconduct for what the officials deemed a Check from Behind on the Saints Brett Pfoh. Shots were 16-11 Brooks in the period.
The Saints had momentum on their side for the first half of the 2nd period. Forward Luigi Benincasa scored on a backhand top shelf shot to give Spruce the 2-1 lead 2:49 into the frame. That was followed by a Ewan McPherson goal on a pass from behind the net to make it 3-1 at 6:19, and a Breck McKinley goal a minute later, beating Barwick on a shot from the slot to increase the Saints to 4-1. Brooks got one back, as forward Anthony Cipollone found a rebound off a Dario Beljo shot from the right circle and put it into the Saints net on the powerplay to cut the lead to 4-2 with 4:27 left in the frame. Shots were 11-6 Bandits in the period.
Bandits TJ Hughes (Mercyhurst) came up huge in the 3rd period. He cut the lead to 4-3 at 9:15 as he found a loose puck in the Saints crease off a Bookman shot. That was followed by a cross-ice pass one-timer from defenceman Dominick Campione (Arizona State) 4-4 at 16:22. The Saints would be awarded a penalty shot, but Barwick came up with a huge pad stop. Shots were 15-4 Bandits in the period.
For the first time this season, the Bandits were forced to overtime. Despite having a powerplay and tons of pressure, they were unable to capitalize.
The game went to a shootout, and the both first shooters for their respective teams scored; Benincasa and TJ Hughes. No shooters in Rounds 2 and 3 were able to score, until the 4th round when Nikola Jovanovic tucked one past Barwick. The Bandits were unable to answer, and dropped the 5-4 shootout decision.
The Bandits will look to start a new winning streak on Wednesday, November 17 when they travel to Calgary to face the Canucks at Henry Viney Arena. Game time is 7:00 pm and can be heard live on Real Country 105.7 FM.